Things are getting psychedelic and groovy in Woodstock, Illinois.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the generation-defining concert on a farm in New York, a smaller-scale, two-day outdoor concert will be held this weekend at Galt Airport, just a few miles north of Woodstock.
The idea is for Woodstock, Ill., to transform into Woodstock, N.Y., circa 1969 - minus the drugs, nudity and mud, but with plenty of peace, love and music.
As many as 15,000 people are expected to camp out for the "Woodstock (Illinois) Tribute," which starts tonight with live performances by nine tribute bands for Woodstock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
Some of them will perform the exact same set lists played at the original Woodstock.
"Most of the (original) people are dead or too expensive to get," joked Michael Stanard, a 64-year-old owner businessman who came up with the idea along with his wife, Joeleen. "We spent months researching these tribute bands and listening to them on YouTube so we could get the best tribute bands we could find. We didn't just pick anybody. They're coming from all over the country."
Artie Kornfeld, the co-creator of the original Woodstock, has given the event his blessing, Stanard said.
The goal is to provide a Woodstock-like feel, not to re-create Woodstock, said event coordinator Laura Witlox.
"Woodstock didn't have a VIP tent for the sponsors," she chuckled.
Mom-and-pop vendors will have booths set up, vegetarian food will be available, and hippie-style, tie-dyed clothing will be everywhere.
Many Woodstock businesses are diggin' the groove, and one new store opened in the town square specifically for the event.
Blues Inspired is a store filled with the smell of incense and stocked with peace sign tapestries, tie-dyed clothing, copies of original concert posters, and all sorts of other hippie paraphernalia.
"A lot of people walk in and say, 'This reminds me of high school!'" said the store's co-manager, Morgan Bykowski.
The store is adjacent to Liquid Blues, a bar that always has been a throwback to the Woodstock era. Both businesses are run by the Bykowski family.
Several businesses in Woodstock Square are selling special products in honor of the big weekend, such as the Purple Haze Gelato at Bella's Gelateria and Caffe, the "Take Another Little Pizza of my Heart" pizza at Pirro's Restaurante, and the Love Light Lemonade at Jenapea's.
Window displays around the square are filled with colorful peace sign designs, and even Lorraine's Memories scrapbooking store is getting into it, featuring guitar and flower stickers, along with psychedelic-looking prints.
The concert's definitely creating, well, a buzz.
"You can't get the genie back in the bottle and expect it to be the same (as the original Woodstock)," Stanard said. "But people are thanking us for doing this. They seem to have a genuine appreciation for the music."
Home: As many as 15,000 expected to camp out
A Woodstock (Illinois) Tribute
What: A two-day concert and camping event in a farm field (and airport). The concert will feature nine of the country's top tribute bands for the original Woodstock musicians.
Where: Galt Airport, 5112 Greenwood Road, Greenwood, IL (just a few miles north of Woodstock Square)
When: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 and 15
Tickets: Tickets range from $20 to $40
If you want to camp: RV and tent camping is available Friday and Saturday nights by advanced registration only. Call (815) 648-4591, ext. 13.
Info: tribute2woodstock.com or (815) 648-4591